PeopleForBikes is launching a first-of-its-kind PeopleForBikes Business Intelligence Hub, a dashboard for daily and weekly data insights for the bicycle industry covering ridership, retail sales and consumer attitudes. These metrics will give an overall sense of the state of bike riding and the bike business in the United States, said the bike advocacy group.
“The timeliness and availability of data in the bike industry has been a challenge for a long time,” said Dr. Jennifer Boldry, chief research advisor for PeopleForBikes and applied innovation leader at NAXION. “With COVID-19 and the speed of change happening right now, we know that history is not a predictor of the future. This dashboard is designed to quickly deliver crucial insights to our industry.”
The Business Intelligence Hub — available online at http://peopleforbikes.org/business-intelligence-hub/ — is built on three core metrics:
• Ridership: Thanks to partners at Eco-Counter, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and the Outdoor Foundation and combined with insights from PeoplesForBikes’ Ride Spot program, the dashboard shares weekly updates on the number of bike trips taken in key locations nationwide.
• Sales: The dashboard blends a daily index of IBD eCommerce sales from independent bicycle detailers, provided by SmartEtailing, with a weekly index of brick-and-mortar retail sales (including daily foot traffic and number of transactions) from Retail Toolkit. These partners are contributing to a huge advance in providing timely data on bike and bike equipment sales, which have traditionally been reported nearly two months after the fact.
• Consumer Insights: Weekly surveys capture attitudes regarding riding patterns, consumer confidence, purchasing habits and more. PeopleForBikes will gather survey responses from its 1.4 million-strong grassroots supporter network, as well as bi-weekly general population surveys to showcase the attitudes, intentions and behaviors of the wider public.
The dashboard will grow to include improved and additional metrics over time, said the group. The swift rollout this month comes as bicycle industry suppliers and retailers continue to adapt and pivot to consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our goal all along has been to take all the data at our disposal and condense it into a concise and easily accessible format for all members of the PeopleForBikes Coalition to use in a way that’s impactful and useful,” said Bernie Doering, the chair of the PeopleForBikes Research and Statistics Subcommittee and the SVP of global sales/marketing for Stages Cycling. “This dashboard is one more step to achieving that goal.”
Ryan Atkinson, president of SmartEtailing, said, “When PeopleForBikes approached us asking if we could offer timely insights about what is happening at bike shops, we wanted to help.”
The SmartEtailing data team worked with the Research and Statistics Subcommittee to develop the daily index methodology that shares relative change in sales metrics year-over-year for each date, without revealing confidential retailer data.
“We want to help suppliers forecast to ensure that our retail clients have access to inventory and healthy margins, and with this index we will get timely insights that can help with decision making,” Atkinson said.
The dashboard is already pointing to new trends – at least in the short term – for independent bike dealers. While online sales have historically generated less than 5 percent of total retail revenue, e-commerce sales in April and May represent anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of bike shop sales in many markets, said Atkinson.
The new data hub will complement the in-depth reports on wholesale trends and retail sales that PeopleForBikes currently sends members on a monthly basis, adding real-time, day-over-day and week-over-week insights. The dashboard will be free to the entire bike industry until July 1, 2020, at which point access to retail sales data and consumer insights will be limited to dues-paying PeopleForBikes members.
“Providing this type of business intelligence as a member benefit was part of our vision for merging with the Bicycle Products Suppliers Association (BSPA) last year,” said PeopleForBikes Chief Operating Officer Jenn Dice. “We believe in the power of data and know these kinds of actionable insights provide real value to our members and their businesses. We also know that speed is everything and so the ability to provide a daily and weekly snapshot is a game changer.”